Next up, let’s continue discussing the problems of infections, specifically hospital acquired drug resistant infections like Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A recent study of the use of universal contact precautions in ICU’s showed that the use of them seemed to have little to no effect on infection rates for these dangerous infections.

Undetected Infections Still Spread

Infection-fire-spread-ragingEven though the CDC recommends contact precautions for patients infected with MRSA and VRE, it is thought that many of the patients colonized with these infections go undetected and the spread of the infection occurs unintentionally. But does this translate to wearing contact precautions, gowns, masks, and gloves for all ICU patients rather than just those known to be infected?

According to a recent study out of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, probably not. They conducted a randomized trial where they looked at 20 ICUs for most of 2012, where staff either all wore precautions or only wore precautions when a known infection occurred. The found a decrease in both the intervention and control groups with a non-statistically significant difference between the two rates.

Infection Control Awareness Important

This may show that merely increasing awareness caused better use of ancillary precautions like better hand washing and equipment cleaning and isolation. The conclusions of the authors were essentially that one size does not fit all when looking at infection control precautions. Each ICU facility needs to look at their own practices and procedures to come up with best way of implementing infection control and cleaning within their own systems.

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Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis Challenges and Episode 266.

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